[svlug] Multiple OS Boot CD

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Wed Nov 21 12:31:01 PST 2001

on Wed, Nov 21, 2001 at 05:54:15PM -0000, Peter Street (peter.street at lazerfx.co.uk) wrote:
> Hi, I've recently joined the SVLUG newsgroup, and I thought this would
> be the perfect place to ask a question that's been bugging me for a
> while.
> I'd like to make a Boot CD that will act as a rescue disk for my
> computer, contain common utilities (Partition Magic, various low-level
> editors and partition editors, etc), allow me to boot from my various
> partitions, etc.
> However, since I have such a wide variety of OS's on my box (At last
> count, Win98SE (15GB), WinXP (30GB), BeOS (5GB), SuSE 7.2 Pro (25GB)) I
> would like to make a CD that will allow me to:
> * Boot into each OS
> * Run tools from each OS (I.e. DOS based for 98SE, NT based for XP and
>   Linux based for SuSE (I don't have any BeOS tools, but then I don't
>   use it that often))
> * Rescue the low-level structure of the disk (I.E. contain Partition
>   Magic, and the various low-level partition table editors - Oh, and
>   MemTest x86)
> * Contain some common utilities and drivers, so they are in a common
>   place.
> I have already created 'DOS' boot disks and the like, using the
> bootable CD format, but I was wondering if it was possible to use LiLo
> on the CD, so you could choose from a variety of options.
> Well, that's my first post - a bit of a pearler, I'm sure you'll agree
> :)

Some general comments.  I'm not intimately familiar with most of the OSs
you're running, or aspects of CDs, but...

  - Bootable CD's are certainly possible under DOS and GNU/Linux.  This
    will cover your Win98, and SuSE needs.  NT/2K/XP and and BeOS are
    unknowns, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could get a system
    booted from CDR.  More problematic:  being proprietary, you're
    likely in copyright / license violation if you do this.  The LNX-BBC
    is a good guide to creating bootable GNU/Linux systems:

  - The iso9660 and Joliet CDR filesystem extensions are widely
    supported.  Simply dividing your various support tools into
    directories should suffice, say, from $CDROOT, ./linux, ./dos,
    ./beos, ./winxp.  You don't need to mess with multiple filesystems.
    The trick would be identifying software you'd want to include.

  - Again, because of the free software nature of the tools, GNU/Linux
    makes a good platform for general system recovery and repair.
    You've got options to mount numerous filesystems readably, some
    systems can't be mounted R/W reliabily (e.g.:  NTFS).  Your
    memtester is certainly OS agnostic, and runs under GNU/Linux.
    Partitioning tools can also generally be run from GNU/Linux.  The
    GNU/Linux bootloaders (LILO, GRUB) do a pretty good job of handling
    multi-boot systems.


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>       http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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